viernes, 1 de marzo de 2013

Mexican union boss loses post after arrest

The national teachers' union in Mexico elected a new leader on 28 February after its flamboyant former president Elba Esther Gordillo Morales was detained on 26 February, suspected of stealing union money; the political party she founded appeared to remain neutral meanwhile and stressed the party's autonomy from its founder. The SNTE (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación) held its 36th extraordinary session early on 28 February wherein it unanimously voted in the union's secretary-general Antonio Díaz de la Torre as its new president; he was sworn into office that day, Proceso reported. The union reportedly then reversed its opposition to the government's education reforms, which Gordillo had denounced and which may reduce the union's authority over members but also end their entrenched job security. Esther Gordillo's New Alliance (PANAL, Partido Nueva Alianza) party was also apparently distancing itself from its founder, issuing a communiqué on 27 February that stressed its national and autonomous character. The party stated it was "as a political option the property of people, its militants and those who seek a different country," Proceso reported. Gordillo it stated had been a "determining factor" in the party's formation but also in ensuring "New Alliance won autonomy, had its own life and became what it is today: a national party with a structure across the country." PANAL has ten seats in the lower legislative chamber. It refrained from commenting on the arrest, saying it was a judicial decision. The party changed its parliamentary coordinator on 28 February although members said the reshuffle and arrest were just coincidental. Cerda Franco, a former treasurer of the SNTE, became PANAL's new parliamentary coordinator, replacing Lucila Garfilas a former union section head in Estado de México, La Jornada reported on 1 March. Gordillo's estate and assets were meanwhile frozen and judges would later decide if these would be paid to the SNTE or used to pay unspecified damages and costs, La Jornada reported. Police were searching one of her properties on 28 February, an appartment in Mexico City's wealthy Polanco district. La Jornada cited one of Mexico's deputy-prosecutors as saying that two unnnamed individuals were in turn informing investigators of Gordillo's financial transactions, including several involving sums above those for which she had been charged.